The government has put another Brexit deal together. But no deal is as strong as the one we currently have - as members of the European Union.
The government is seeking to ram this deal through in just one Saturday, intentionally giving parliament little time to scrutinise the deal. Details continue to emerge showing just how bad this deal is for the UK. The deal gives the UK only up until 2020 to negotiate a trade deal with the EU and if its not done by then the UK will leave the EU "on no-deal terms". Thats just 14 months to negotiate a trade deal with Europe!
Conservative MP John Barron has said that some Conservative MPs will be voting for Boris Johnson's deal on the assurances that "if those trade talks fail up to December 2020" the UK will leave the EU "on no-deal terms".
Liberal Democrat shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said in response:
"Conservative Brexiter John Baron’s comments make it clear that Johnson’s Brexit deal would not only be bad for our economy, our NHS and our environment, but it would also open us up to a potential no-deal Brexit next year. It is a Trojan horse.
"We know that a no-deal Brexit would be absolutely catastrophic. No-one wanting to avoid this scenario should even consider voting for this back door no-deal Brexit.
"Liberal Democrats know that any form of Brexit would be bad for the UK. That is why we will continue to fight to stop Brexit and give the people the final say, including the option to stay in the EU."
Yesterday, the Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment to the Queen's speech to put any deal that comes back from Brussels to a People's Vote.
The full text of the amendment is as follows: “instruct the Government to prepare for a People’s Vote in which the public will have the choice between the latest Withdrawal Agreement and remaining in the European Union.”
If selected, this amendment would be voted on early next week.
Following tabling the amendment, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:
“The Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain and have been the leading voice in the People’s Vote campaign.
“Boris Johnson is determined to have a general election, but the best way to resolve the Brexit chaos is to have a People’s Vote and give the British people the final say about their future.
“The best deal we have is as members of the European Union and we want to give the people the chance to choose to stop Brexit.”
Responding to the analysis by the CBI that the cost of Labour's renationalisation plans is estimated to be £196 billion, Liberal Democrat MP Chuka Umunna said:
"The Tories are pursuing an ideological hard Brexit, depriving the Exchequer of much needed revenue, whilst Labour plans to do the same with a Labour Brexit in addition to spending billions of pounds with no idea how they will pay for it.
"The only sensible alternative to these two broken parties is to stop Brexit and use the resulting Remain bonus to invest in people and public services - the Liberal Democrat choice."
What should have been a routine bi-monthly meeting of Bromley Council turned into an imitation of a tragicomedy on Monday evening (14th Oct). Traditional rejection of campaigns for pedestrian safety, witty banter by the leader of the Council about Brexit, and a truly shocking insight into views about LGBT+ rights from Conservative Councillor Michael Tickner.
The public gallery was full of people attending to hear a petition presented by Chris Wells of Chislehurst Safer Streets asking the council to install a push button crossing phase at the Chislehurst war memorial traffic light controlled junction - a notoriously dangerous place for pedestrians young and old. The campaigners had collected a significant 3000 signatures for their petition and had earned themselves the right to be heard. Sadly that did not earn them the right to courtesy or action by their elected representatives. The petition was presented by Chris Wells - a factual, cogent presentation of the case to give pedestrians a safer way to cross. No one was expecting the Conservative council to do much more than refer it for further consideration, they are after all famous for believing that the car must take precedence over all other road users - and they did not disappoint. Ironically - as the Mayor had opened the meeting reminding all councillors to be respectful of the members of the public who had come to speak - we had an astonishing attack on the Safer Streets group, first by Chislehurst councillor Kate Boughey who accused the group of spreading "misinformation ... to make residents more anxious" then by leader of the council Colin Smith who accused the residents of "excitable hyperbole". Not much respect there then.
Rejecting a suggestion by the Labour councillors to put a six month time limit on this further consideration the Conservative councillors sat back to await an increase in accident numbers that might spur them into action. Shall we diarise a reminder for this time next year to see how far they've got?
Chislehurst didn't fare very well during the rest of the meeting - a question about why the council refused to support local traders' requests for CCTV in response to a recent spate of burglaries in local shops brought a response that it just wasn't high up the list of crime figures to merit such attention (15 shop burglaries in the last 6 months - "Bromley Town have that many in an hour").
We were then entertained by Colin Smith's now traditional pro Brexit attempts at humour "there's no project fear here", and there's " absolutely no risk to any services in Bromley " as part of a no deal Brexit, and similar witty comments.
However the real tragedy of the meeting came during a later debate to a motion proposed by Labour Councillor Simon Jeal asking the Council to confirm its full support for schools delivering compulsory LGBT+ inclusive Relationships and Sex Education in line with new Government guidance. Cllr Jeal bravely came out as bi-sexual during the debate, but that didn't stop Cllr Tickner stating that "we can accept LGBT people but shouldn’t positively encourage it". It's alarming that these views exist amongst the council, even more alarming that Cllr Tickner feels it's acceptable to voice them, and particularly disappointing given that there were several young people in the public gallery who had come along specially to see the debate. What a terrible lesson they learnt.
Today the publication of CQC’s ‘State of Care 2018/19’ report reveals a rise of inpatient services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism that were rated inadequate.
The report also shows a rise of child and adolescent mental health inpatient services rated inadequate.
Responding to the report, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Vince Cable said:
“It is rare for a public body such as the Care Quality Commission to be so scathing of the effects of Government policy. Their honesty is to be congratulated.
“They highlight graphically the decline in standards for mental health and learning disability inpatient services. This means some of the most vulnerable are not receiving anything like the standards of care that they need.
“Staffing shortages, coupled with inadequate funding solutions has meant the strained care system is beginning to crack.
“Liberal Democrats have long argued that mental health in particular should be raised to parity with other forms of healthcare.
“Yesterday’s Queen’s Speech pays lip service to improvements in these services but it must be followed up with real resources."